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These soft and chewy apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies are exploding with sweet apple flavor. Filled with cinnamon and apple spices, loaded with applesauce and apple chunks, and topped with a creamy maple frosting, they’re absolutely perfect for the fall season.

apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies with maple icing on a baking sheet

In the fall months, apple desserts are often overshadowed by pumpkin pie and all things pumpkin spice. While these soft pumpkin cookies always hit the spot, today’s apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies have climbed to the top of my fall cookie list.

Speaking of favorite desserts, have you tried salted caramel apple pie yet? It’s my #1.

Tell Me About these Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

  • Texture: These apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies are soft and chewy with moist centers and crisp edges. They’re much softer and more airy than our oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies. Each is loaded with apple chunks and topped with creamy frosting. So much texture in just 1 cookie!
  • Flavor: You’ll enjoy many fall flavors in each bite including apple spice, cinnamon, and maple—same flavors you can find in these healthy apple muffins. If you’re looking for a maple cookie to try, these maple brown sugar cookies are a popular choice.
  • Time: The apple oatmeal cookie dough comes together quickly. Some cookie doughs require chilling in the refrigerator and others don’t. This recipe doesn’t, but some readers have found chilling the dough helpful because it helps reduce over-spreading. (We don’t usually chill the dough, but see step 1 below.)
apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies with maple icing on a baking sheet

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies: What Works & What Doesn’t

Here are a few helpful tips my team & I learned while testing this recipe.

  1. Use this trick for melted butter. The first ingredient is melted butter, but the temperature is important. If it’s too hot, the dough will turn into an oily puddle. If it’s too cool, your cookies will taste a little too cakey. Here’s what we do: melt the butter and set it aside for 10 minutes while we prep the rest of the ingredients. It’s still warm, but not piping hot. Perfect!
  2. Bake right away. The oats will soak up a lot of the moisture if you let the cookie dough sit too long. This isn’t a bad thing, but we find the centers are much softer if the dough sits. You’ll get a better cookie if you bake them right away. Impatience finally pays off! 
  3. Next day flavor wins. Even though you want to bake the cookies right away, eating them is another story. Like banana bread, these cookies have even more flavor on the 2nd day… if you can wait that long to eat them!
apple cinnamon oatmeal cookie batter in a glass bowl

Choosing the Right Ingredients

Here are some of the key ingredients in apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies.

  • More oats than flour = chewier cookie. You need 2 cups of whole oats and 1 cup of flour to achieve the perfect chew.
  • Sugars. You’ll need both granulated sugar and brown sugar in this recipe. We prefer dark brown sugar this time of year, though light brown sugar works just as well.
  • Applesauce. While applesauce can make cookies taste a little rubbery, the melted butter keeps their chewy texture in check. We recommend using a thick unsweetened applesauce to prevent overspreading. Avoid thin and soupy applesauce. And if you have any leftover, try a batch of these applesauce muffins.
  • Walnuts. We love adding walnuts to these apple cookies, but you can leave them out if desired. The nuts are completely optional.
  • Apple chunks. Make sure you cut the apple into very tiny chunks. I use only 1/2 cup for the cookies—you don’t want to use much more than that because the dough will be too moist.
  • Spices. I recommend using apple pie spice and cinnamon. If you don’t have access to store-bought apple pie spice, use a little extra cinnamon or you can make your own with cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. If you have and love apple pie spice, you’ll enjoy it in these baked apple cider donuts too!
apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies on a silpat baking mat on a baking sheet before baking
apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies on a baking sheet
apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies with maple icing on a baking sheet

A drizzle of maple icing is the perfect finishing touch to these cookies. But if you have a little more time, salted caramel frosting would be equally as delicious!

More Fall Baking Recipes

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apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies with maple icing on a baking sheet

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 20 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These soft and chewy apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies are exploding with sweet apple flavor. Filled with cinnamon and apple spices, loaded with applesauce and apple chunks, and topped with a creamy maple frosting, they’re absolutely perfect for the fall season.


  • 2 cups (170g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (or an extra tsp cinnamon)
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup (90g) unsweetened applesauce*
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed dark or light brown sugar (I prefer dark here)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely diced apple (about 1/2 of a large apple)
  • optional: 1/2 cup (63g) chopped walnuts

Maple Icing

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180gconfectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk


  1. Some readers have found that these cookies spread a little too much without chilling the cookie dough first– I haven’t run into that problem, but feel free to chill this cookie dough for 1-2 hours after step 4–before rolling and baking. Enjoy!
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  3. Whisk the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and apple pie spice (if using) together in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk the butter, applesauce, brown sugar, and white sugar together until combined. Then whisk in the egg and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Fold in the apples and walnuts. The cookie dough will be thick and sticky.
  5. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough into balls (about 2 Tbsp of dough each) and place 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Slightly flatten the balls out– see picture above– as the cookies won’t spread much unless you help out first!
  6. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until lightly browned and set on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before icing.
  7. Make the icing: Whisk all of the ingredients together and drizzle over cookies. You may have a little icing leftover. Drizzle more on each… because it’s just so good.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Iced cookies stay fresh covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The flavor is even better on day 2. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 5. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Read my tips and tricks on how to freeze cookie dough.
  2. Applesauce: Make sure you are using a thick applesauce. Anything too thin and liquid creates excess spreading.

Keywords: apple cinnamon cookies, apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Flavor here is A+, but they did overspread. They were very sticky even on parchment, and with nonstick oil. Getting them loose made them fall apart and even when they were off, they stuck to your fingers so bad that they were essentially only good to enjoy privately. I even made my own applesauce when you said it needed to be thicker to prevent overspread, and I still failed. Even though they’re delicious, I probably wouldn’t use this recipe again unless I put them in paper cups and called them oatmeal bars or something.

    1. Hi Randy, thank you so much for giving these cookies a try. We don’t suggest greasing parchment paper when baking cookies, the added oil can cause the cookies to spread. It’s also possible the cookies needed another minute or two to bake if they were falling apart. Here’s more tips to keep cookies from spreading for next time.

      1. I did both, ungreased first then greased. Same sticky result. And as for time/temp, in the first batch I had bumped it up to 375° after rotating my pans, and they were in there for at least 20 minutes. They pooled at both 350 and 375, and I waited until they were browned properly. Not hatin on you, just the results.

  2. I was about a tablespoon short of butter and didn’t want to go to the store, so I subbed natural peanut butter for that last bit and melted it together with the butter I did have. They turned out *delicious* and didn’t burn on the bottoms like literally everything else I bake in my gas oven! I used homemade applesauce (apples in a blender) that had separated a little, so there was a bit less moisture. I added only about 1/2c brown sugar as I like things a little less sweet. Also, the only flour I had was whole wheat bread flour and it worked fine. They spread the perfect amount and are delicious!!

  3. Hi Sally, what kind of apple is used in this recipe? and apple sauce is not accessible where i’m from is there a substitute?

    1. Honestly, you can use any flavorful variety you love. We personally like granny smith, honeycrisp, pink lady, or fuji. You can try a ripe mashed banana, or canned pumpkin if you wish in place of the applesauce, but the taste will be different. Or you can even make your own applesauce by simply cooking some peeled and sliced apples on the stove until they are soft enough to mash. Let us know what you try!

      1. Thank you so much again and again for your help!

  4. Perfection. I strained my applesauce with a cheesecloth to remove excess liquid and glad I did (surprised how much I removed). Cookie texture was excellent with minimal spread. Love that this cookie is not too sweet with great apple and walnut flavor. Highly recommend!

    1. Made a second batch for a BBQ and I strained even more liquid from the applesauce with the cheesecloth. Second batch even better than first without overspread. Used a lighter colored maple syrup this time for the icing and I also preferred this version over the prior darker syrup I used previously. Highly recommend!

    1. Hi Linda, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful:

  5. These are delicious! I squeezed out the excess moisture from my applesauce and the cookies were perfect. I loved the fresh apples in them. And the icing just makes them extra special! I would definitely make these again!

  6. Made the cookies yesterday and they taste really good. I followed the directions perfectly and they did not spread at all. I guess I was hoping they’d be crispier. I put them away in a container and by this morning they are all soft-not crispy at all. Like I said, they are good but I’d like them crispy. I love a lot of your recipes!

  7. These cookies were amazing! Sally is correct: they are better on day two. The reason is that letting them sit overnight lets them firm up. If you eat them right away, like we did, they are soft cookies with a firm bottom. On the next day, they are still soft but somewhat firmer throughout, and I liked them much better that way. I used a thick applesauce: Santa Cruz organic apple sauce and no straining was needed. These cookies did not overspread. The flavor is delicious. No complaints with these cookies! Would make again 100%.

    1. This recipe is awesome! I didn’t have any applesauce in hand, but I did have some homemade apple pie filling left over from some muffins I made and used 1 cup if it. I also used an apple pie maple syrup that I found in Aldi for the glaze! My my delicious!!

  8. These cookies are to die for! I followed the recipe almost exactly and they came out moist, chewy, and did not fall apart. I didn’t have walnuts, so I doubled the fresh diced apple. I only had runny, puréed apple baby food, but it didn’t make them rubbery. I divided the batter into exactly two cookie sheets, or 24 cookies and the bake time ended up being about 22 minutes. These will definitely be added to my regular go-to cookies for hosting holiday parties. Super easy to make!

  9. Absolutely delicious! They are easy to make and came out just like the picture! I was so impressed with the flavor and texture! Next time I will use more apple bits but other than that this is an absolutely perfect recipe. Kudos!!

  10. The flavor of these cookies are awesome. The cookie did kind of spread out too much when baking so I will try to strain the applesauce next time. I also need to cut up the apples a little more. I don’t really care that much anyway they were so good.

  11. I was just wondering if we find the cookies too sweet, can we reduce the sugar? Would it have a big effect on the texture?

    1. Sugar is used for moisture and texture in baked goods as well as taste. You can certainly try reducing the sugar, but the resulting texture will be different than intended.

  12. These cookies are amazing! but they’re super super sweet for my tastes. Is there anyway I could reduce the sugar content/taste without changing the texture? Should I just add a lot more nuts and less apples?

    1. Hi Zareena, sugar is used for moisture and texture in baked goods as well as taste. You can certainly try reducing the sugar, but the resulting texture will be different than intended.

  13. These are delicious without the icing! But spread horribly. I read the note and the comments. I reduced the applesauce to 1/4c. as it was on the thinner side. I chilled the dough. Unfortunately, the cookies still spread so much that I will not be gifting them to a friend as I had intended. I’ll keep some out and freeze the rest for my own future nibbling as they do taste quite good. That said I wouldn’t make these again.

    1. Hi Julie, You can chill this cookie dough for 1-2 hours after step 4–before rolling and baking, which should help if they are spreading. A few more tips are to make sure that your butter has slightly cooled before using (if it’s too hot the cookies will spread) and that you are not using a super thin/watery applesauce. Thank you for trying this recipe!

    1. Did you bake them as bars and if so, how did they turn out? And for how long did you bake them? I’d love to try them as bars.

  14. Good but not something I’d make often (in contrast to almost every other recipe of Sally’s). Mine did spread so I would chill the dough next time.

  15. These are delicious! Can they be frozen if they’re already iced?

    1. Hi Aubrey, absolutely! Baked, iced cookies can be frozen for up to three months.

  16. Loved these cookies! I used apple butter instead of applesauce (it’s all I had!) and they spread just the right amount. Definitely ended up a bit on the sweet side because of the apple butter but the consistency was great. I also made them a tad larger and chilled them for 15 minutes in the fridge after rolling/shaping.

  17. Sally, your recipes never disappoint, but these cookies are beyond delicious. I only had regular applesauce in the pantry, so I let it sit in a sieve for a few minutes to drain off the extra liquid and they cookies didn’t spread at all, with no refrigeration of the dough. The maple glaze recipe made a LOT, so I ended up just icing the entire cookie. They are fabulous! My husband ate 5 within moments of coming home from work.

  18. I made the cookie yesterday and the flavor is fanatic!
    I reduced the sugar to 2/3 of the recipe (both brown sugar and granulated sugar) and the cookie is just the right amount of sweetness. Also, I cooked the apple sauce to help the water evaporate (from 113g to less than 90g). The cookie is not too sweet, full of apple flavor, chewy and did not over spread. I will definitely make it again.

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